September 18, 2014 at 7:11 pm #402361
It’s time to talk about someone who I think is going to blow up soon. His real name is Andrew Hozier-Byrne, but he goes by Hozier as his stage name. Hozier is an Irish singer/songwriter whose self-titled debut album will be released in the States on Tuesday, October 7, 2014. He’s also the musical guest on “SNL” for the October 11th episode (host Bill Hader).
If he really makes his mark over the pond, then I see him as a very legitimate Best New Artist contender. His “Take Me to Church” EP was released in 2013 and “From Eden” EP in early 2014, so that should allow him room for contention. The video is already out for “Take Me to Church,” which is one of best songs I’ve heard in a very long time. I hope the song wasn’t submitted for Grammy consideration last year, b/c this is a ROTY/SOTY contender if I’ve ever heard one.
Here is the link to the video for “Take Me to Church”:
Discuss.September 18, 2014 at 9:40 pm #402363
Yessss. Loving what I’ve heard so far from Hozier. “Work Song” is absolutely sublime. Looking forward to listening to the whole album through. I hope he makes it big and fast so he makes a splash at this year’s Grammys.September 19, 2014 at 7:36 am #402364
I could not echo your sentiments any more. Absolutely in love with this guy, and I see HUGE success in the very near future for him. I was ecstatic to hear he’ll be on SNL.
Also, seeing him at Austin City Limits in a few weeks and am SO stoked.October 10, 2014 at 6:22 am #402365
His album is incredibleOctober 10, 2014 at 7:18 am #402366
SNL this weekend!October 10, 2014 at 8:17 am #402367
It would be awesome to see him in the SOTY category for his powerful “Take Me to Church” as well as Video of the Year. If Grammy voters want to continue to be relevant (or attempt to be) they need to nominate Hozier for something! Very well deserved and his album is a shoo-in for an Alternative album nom next year IMOOctober 10, 2014 at 1:08 pm #402368
The Telegraph’s (UK) review:
Hozier, Hozier, review: “glorious and uplifting”
Hozier’s debut album makes it easy to fall in love with the Irish musician,
says Helen Brown.
by Helen Brown
2:09PM BST 06 Oct 2014
With a big, soulful voice capable of plunging to dark, doomy depths and
swooping up into wild, lupine howls, 24-year-old Andrew Hozier-Byrne became
Ireland’s next-big-thing last October when the passionate, 21st century
blues of Take Me to Church went to number two in the Irish singles chart.
While the song compared Ireland’s relationship to the Catholic church to a
toxic love affair (“I’ll worship like a dog at the shrine of your lies/
I’ll tell you my sins and you can sharpen your knife”), the video
(condemning the Russian goverment’s brutal criminalisation of homosexuality)
went viral and has racked up over 6 million views of YouTube.
The son of a blues drummer, Hozier was raised in Wicklow on a diet of Muddy
Waters, John Lee Hooker, Blind Willie Johnson, Chess Records, and Motown.
Later he discovered jazz and fell hard for the “haunting” voices
of Ella Fitzgerald and Nina Simone and the darker rock of Pink Floyd and Tom
Waits. For a while it seems he had two distinct musical personalities: one
rocked out in pubs, the other studied music at Trinity College and sang with
the choral group Anuna between 2009-2012.
But he brought the sounds together in the sweet union of his own songs. Gospel
choirs hum and swell tenderly beneath the rougher edges of his riffs. They
add mature, universal gravitas and often a holy ecstacy to an intense,
youthful lyrical tangling of religion and romantic obsession that regularly
finds him poised “between love and abuse.”
So the loosely slung devotion of “From Eden” (during which he acquires a
Sting-like yelp) sees him “slithering” to a lover’s door while the
gothic spiritual “Work Song” finds him promising that “No grave can hold
my body down/ I’ll crawl home to her.” A folky duet with fellow Irish
singer Karen Cowley, “In a Week,” describes a lover’s tryst that ends with two
corpses in a field devoured by the local fauna.
Like Van Morrison—that other (albeit Northern) Irishman who delivered a
raw, gutsy take on Afro-American music—Hozier mixes his tormented blues
with sunny R&B. “Someone New” opens with a spring-stepped pizzicato bass
and bursts into a glorious, uplifting chorus of “I fall in love just a
little/ Oh a little bit, everyday with someone new.” I suspect that a
lot of us will be falling just a little bit in love with him, too.October 10, 2014 at 1:18 pm #402369
Thanks for whoever started this thread. I just found Take Me To Church and and it is life-changing. I’m hoping for Hozier to have a Lorde-type rise at the Grammys this year. I just bought his album! Super excited!!!
I saw his Letterman performance. He has so much talent, its sickening.
FYC: Hozier: RotY, SotY, New Artist, Rock Performance, and Rock Song.October 10, 2014 at 1:31 pm #402370
A.V. Club’s review:
Irish singer-songwriter Hozier crafts a solid, bluesy debut
Oct 7, 2014
Although the pop singles charts are currently dominated by women,
there’s a burgeoning movement of soulful male solo artists taking aim
at stardom—led by a group that includes Australian folkie Vance Joy,
British R&B star Sam Smith, and now the bluesy Irish
singer-songwriter Hozier. Although the latter should receive a
visibility boost when he appears on Saturday Night Live later this week, his first major career bump came last fall, when the video for “Take Me to Church” went viral on YouTube.
gospel-inflected, fire-and-brimstone song—which condemns organized
religion while praising sex and love as a replacement—kicks off his
self-titled debut on an appropriately strident note. Musically, the rest
of the album follows suit: The Black Keys’ electrified garage-rock days
and Gary Clark Jr.’s crackling Southern blues are major influences,
while the languorous “It Will Come Back” boasts devilish strings to
match Hozier’s smoky, wizened voice. “Someone New” is upbeat vintage
soul, and the fantastic “Jackie and Wilson” is retro-toned R&B
backed by an angelic choir of harmonies.
However, Hozier is
far more nuanced than these inspirations imply, mainly because of its
skillful, smart exploration of dualities: how romance can be at once
restorative and destructive, how people are both inherently good and
evil, and even how beauty can emerge from death. In fact, that theme
emerges on the album’s highlight, an ornate, Celtic-flecked duet called
“In a Week” that’s about two lovers perishing together in a field. The
lovely, macabre song makes dying sound like the most romantic thing in
the world: “After the insects have made their claim / I’d be home with
you.” The slightly fantastical “Like Real People Do” also intertwines
morbid references to “bugs and dirt” with an exhortation to “kiss like
real people do”; the combination of keening vocals and solemn buckling
riffs adds even deeper shadows to this passion. And the sparse “Cherry
Wine” illustrates a tempestuous, hot-headed relationship by juxtaposing
samples of pleasant chirping birds with resonant acoustic guitars. In
the end, it’s these examples of creative friction that make Hozier such a compelling listen.October 10, 2014 at 1:45 pm #402371
Alter The Press! Review
by Jon Abelson 10/10/14 10:06 AM
The name Hozier will not be forgotten for a very, very long time.
The Irish singer-songwriter’s recent self-titled debut is nothing short of incredible. The album is a wickedly deft, hauntingly beautiful collection of stories – because Hozier, at his core, is a storyteller, and the tales embedded in his songs are breathtaking. Capable of soaring to stunning highs and swooping to the darkest of lows, the debut release is one of the very few that actually manages to live up to the hype surrounding it.
After the viral fame of the chilling single, “Take Me To Church,” as well as the track’s music video that criticizes Russia’s illegalization of homosexuality, Hozier was well on his way to a successful career in the music industry, and this album cements his fame. Featuring songs from Hozier’s From Eden and Take Me To Church EPs, like“Angel of Small Death and the Codeine Scene,” “To Be Alone,” and “Work Song,” the album builds upon the momentum created in previous releases.
The album opens with the unforgettable “Take Me To Church,” an enormous song that is certainly quite an experience for any first-time listeners. Hozier establishes his impressive vocal talent, cleverly focusing the raw power within the track that, at times, threatens to overspill. He has a distinct feel for a narrative; a precise way with words that elevates the urgent, haunting, and wild feel of this opening track. “Take Me To Church” does not need another review attesting to its brilliance, but it must be said that this song is astonishing in its ability to sink into a listener’s bones like a damp rain.
Moving through the sexually charged “Angel of Small Death and the Codeine Scene,” which uses the device of a female bringing damnation – a lovely antithesis to the themes in “Take Me To Church” – Hozier begins to further deploy the blues-driven jazz that will likely become his signature. “Jackie and Wilson” hooks the listener from the opening riffs, almost like going for a joyride on an early autumn day. Hozier can sing a ballad that is capable of wrenching guts, but “Jackie and Wilson” proves he can be a damn rock star as well. The rhythm is infectious and delightful, the lyrics reaching for the feeling of happiness and youth through the love of someone who understands the narrator – and will raise their children, named Jackie and Wilson, on “rhythm and blues.”
“To Be Alone” was previously only available as a live recording for most Hozier fans. On the album, however, listeners are treated to a studio version that features a drum- driven beat. This bluesy, folk-infused track is achingly lovely, as well as urgent and seductive, the verses building to the release found in the chorus where Hozier lets loose with his vocals. Hozier also calls out the rape culture often prevalent in today’s society and music with a sharp line about “crude and proud creatures baying.”
Another highlight to the album is “Sedated,” a gorgeous and chilling song, complex in its scope and emotions. “Sedated” is raw and dark, but elegantly produced, capturing between its verses the feeling of walking home alone in the rain and thinking about being alone forever. And yet, it is a beautiful track – with a drive and a journey all of its own, driven by classical blues. The lyrics are looking for peace, but a twisted kind, one that seeks utter numbness. “Work Song” follows, building upon the atmosphere, slow and deep, but never overly heavy. Pithy lyrics like “sweet as can be / she’d give me toothaches just from kissing me” are peppered throughout the track, existing effortlessly alongside the enormous lines of the chorus: “lay me gently in the cold, dark earth / no grave can hold my body down / I’ll crawl home to her.”
Another standout on the album, “It Will Come Back” could, like “Jackie and Wilson,” easily find a home on radio, but without pandering to the often-unoriginal, bland tastes that unfortunately populate some top charts. The track is slick as all hell, raw and blues- imbued, telling a story of lovesickness. The resonating drums thud like a heartbeat, sultry against the lyrics: “Jesus Christ, don’t be kind to me / Honey don’t feed me / I will come back.” The last moments of the song are particularly wild and messy and lovely, with Hozier singing, “you’ll hear me howling outside your door,” followed by a real, gritty howl from the musician.
A couple thousand words could be devoted to exploring the complexity and beauty in Hozier’s self-titled debut. Each song holds its own tale – with inherent darkness and light – and yet, the album as a whole is cohesive, each track building off the next before taking the listener somewhere new. Hozier is an artist of monumental talent because he knows not only how to tell a story, but how to wrap the words of that story around listeners’ hands and pull them in close.October 10, 2014 at 1:48 pm #402372
All Music Guide’s review:
by Timothy Monger
The recipient of much hype and praise for his breakthrough single “Take Me to Church,” Ireland’s Hozier
does plenty to back it up on his self-titled debut LP. A soulful voice
and a brooding mystique can get you a long way but fortunately, most of
the material here is well-written enough to warrant a deeper look at the
young artist many have labeled an old soul. Like fellow Irishman Van Morrison did decades before, Hozier (Andrew Hozier-Byrne) draws on the soul and R&B of Jackie Wilson and runs it through the mystery white-boy filter of Jeff Buckley, adding a touch of Bon Iver‘s rural indie aesthetic to mix into his own dark cocktail. Moodcraft and vibe are where Hozier
is at his most effective and he hits his mark on the eerie,
midnight-hour blues of “Angel of Small Death & the Codeine Scene”
with its subtle layers of creepy choir boy and gospel vocals. It’s the
logical sequel to his equally haunting “Take Me to Church,” which leads
off this set. Coming in at 53 minutes and 13 tracks, the record is
probably a bit too lengthy. The album’s best tracks, like the warm,
laid-back “Someone New” and the grandiose shuffling of “From Eden” are
all front loaded in the first half, while side two feels a bit weighed
down with a few too many slow, contemplative pieces. When you’re dealing
with the kind of spells Hozier
is casting, it’s always best to leave them wanting more. Still, the
dirge blues of “It Will Come Back,” with its dirty fiddle and electric
guitar pairing, manages to rattle the church pews enough to help anchor
the back half. In spite of its extra padding and occasional foibles,
it’s a strong debut and Hozier
is far more commanding and convincing than so many other blues-inspired
young turks lurking conspicuously in the alleyways of indiedom.October 12, 2014 at 11:48 am #402373
Two great performances last night on “SNL.” I would love to see him live, and he’s coming to my city during spring break, but I waited too long to get tickets 🙁 I hope his “SNL” appearance gives him a major boost, because he definitely deserves it. He’s been #2 on iTunes for the majority of the week and “Take Me to Church” is right outside the top ten on iTunes. I was PRAYING he’d do “Work Song” as his second song last night, but “Angel of Small Death and the Codeine Scene” is more upbeat, so I understand the decision. I’m just amazed by the album, it really pulls you in even at its nearly hour-long length.October 13, 2014 at 8:12 am #402374
It’s by far one of my favorite albums of the year, in my personal top 5. So hauntingly beautiful and intimate.October 13, 2014 at 9:17 am #402375
Both of Hozier’s “SNL” performances were very good. That was my first time hearing the second song, so that was interesting since it was a bit more upbeat than I was expecting. I wanted him to bring a bit more drama in “Take Me to Church” since the song lends itself to those fiireworks, but even in a more subdued take it was haunting and effective. Looking forward to listening to the full album soon.February 15, 2015 at 3:57 pm #402376
Four months since the last post, and this thread most certainly needs a BUMP.
I knew nothing about Hozier (who said in an interview is pronounced “Ho – Zee – Ur” or “Ho – Zee – Er,” not “Ho – Zure” or “Ho – Zee – A”) before the Grammys, other than he had a single dominating the radio, “Take Me to Church.” But I was so captivated by him and his performance at the Grammys with Annie Lennox that I wanted to hear more.
Guys, his self-titled debut album is one of the greatest things you will hear. Give yourself the gift of listening to it and discovering a great new artist beyond his awesome single. He began a massive tour this past Monday and will continue it through the summer. I can’t wait to get tickets and see him.
Regarding the Grammys: Someone please help me out because this is the awards show with so many rules and loopholes that I get confused. His single, “Take Me to Church,” released before Grammy 2015 deadline. He garnered a single nomination in Song of the Year (losing to Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me”). So since he received that nomination, does that mean he is ineligible for Best New Artist in 2016 when the rest of his album is eligible? But if he had received zero nominations, he would have been eligible for Best New Artist? It confuses me. But if 2015 was his only chance and he missed out to someone like Iggy Azalea, that is a damn shame.
He now has a second single, “From Eden.”
Here is a link to his entire album. Do yourself a favor and spend your Sunday evening with a bottle of wine followed by clicking this link:
In case you missed his Grammy performance w/ Annie Lennox:
Also, even though it’s irrelevant to his perfect album: He’s Irish, 6’5, and f***ing gorgeous. Carry on.